Planning is something that affects our lives from beginning to end, starting with what our parents do for us in our early years, up to how we want to conclude our time here.
Long-term care specialist Linda Luke told Kiwanis of Dougherty County members on February 21 that life comes to end either suddenly or slowly.
Sometimes the “drastic or unthinkable” happens, but generally speaking, she said, “Seventy percent will go slowly” as extended illness or advancing years overtake us.
An overarching question is, “How do we get from here to there?” This is where long-term consideration and planning come in. There are usually four options, said Luke, that people consider:
Family – In the past women were traditional caregivers, but these days most women work, and adult children have jobs as well.
Your own money – While some people have the financial capability to do this, Luke warned that in South Georgia the average nursing home cost is $5000-$6000 a month, and this is projected to double over the next 20 years.
Medicaid – This option pays for nursing home care only, and then only after a patient’s financial assets have been spent down to $2,000 or less. Plus, Medicaid will “want to know all assets” such as home, vehicles, benefits, etc.
The final option, and Luke’s preferred one, is long-term care insurance. This involves a premium, of course, but “it doesn’t risk your other assets.”
When choosing a long-term care insurance provider, Luke noted, there are four things to look for: a “no-waiting care” clause, provision for an independent caregiver, a premium waiver when care begins, and coverage for a shared plan, an important consideration for couples.
Luke also noted that statistics show men have a one in three chance of eventually entering a nursing home, while for women the rate is one in two.